The Pros and Cons of Trading Penny Stocks

Let’s face it, we’ve all heard the stories of rags to riches in the investment world. More often than not, these stories come from some sort of transaction involving a penny stock. We’ve all probably seen Wolf of Wall Street, but we all can’t be Jordan Belfort. Most of the people who choose to go down that path will only find their bank accounts and morale severely depleted.

That being said, if you are comfortable with taking on a substantial amount of risk, there are some benefits to penny stocks. There seem to be two types of sites on the internet these days. Those who preach penny stocks and show videos of the trader strutting through their million dollar mansions, and those who practically classify penny stocks as a version of the bubonic plague. There has to be a middle ground right? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I will weigh the pros and cons of investing in penny stocks so you can really decide what’s best for you.

The Pros Of Investing In Penny Stocks

The possibility of a massive payday

Just like gambling in a casino, the possibility of hitting it big is always there. Just like a poker player can gain a definitive edge over the rest of the table at the casino, you too can at least tilt the odds in your favor with proper research of penny stocks.

Increased volatility makes for quicker returns

Typically when you invest in a growth stock on the TSX or the NYSE, you’re looking to see some growth over the next 1,2 or even maybe even 5 years if you’ve got the patience. You can see exponential growth from a penny stock in a matter of days, and sometimes even hours. Obviously, this works the other way, but we will leave that for the cons section.

Not all penny stock companies are poorly managed

A lot of naysayers towards the penny stock industry believe most all companies traded on the pinks are poorly managed and have poor financial evaluations. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are a ton of solid companies that simply are not big enough yet to trade on the big exchanges. This is what can separate a good from poor penny stock trader, finding these diamonds in the rough.

These stocks are cheap, and I mean real cheap

Contrary to popular belief, a “penny stock” isn’t necessarily trading for pennies. Penny stocks can be any stock that is trading below $5. If you’re looking to clear the waters on the true definition, check out this guide on penny stocks. With all that being said, the large majority of penny stocks will be trading in pennies. This allows investors to purchase large amounts of stocks at a relatively low price.

The Cons Of Investing In Penny Stocks

The possibility of an empty bank account

Penny stocks are risky. In fact, they are often too risky for most peoples tolerance. The volatility of the vast majority of penny stocks is enough to make even the strongest person nauseous. You must be willing to take the lows with the highs and learn to cut your losses. You’re not going to win every trade. In fact, you’ll probably lose the large majority of them in this industry. The idea is to limit your losses to the point where your wins cover the cost of them and then some.

It’s very, very hard to find accurate information about these companies

One of the rules for being listed on an exchange like the TSX or the NYSE is the fact that you must submit financial reports and earnings. Unfortunately, penny stocks to a large degree are not required to do so. Therefore, you’re either trading fundamentally blind and relying purely on technical indicators, or just guessing. Digging for financial documents on pink sheet companies can take a big shovel, and even then you may come up empty.

Scams are everywhere

The pump and dump, the short and distort. Penny stock scams are absolutely everywhere. The fact that these stocks are so thinly traded means that it takes substantially less action to have a deep effect on the stock. Beware when signing up for penny stock newsletters and stick to reputable ones. These newsletters may be trapping readers into a scam by buying up a ton of the stock, promoting it in a way that affects the movement and then selling off for a massive profit while you go home empty-handed.

Commission costs could cost you a ton

Most brokerages charge a fairly streamlined commission for trading stocks on indexes such as the NYSE. For penny stocks, there is often a substantially higher commission charge. Be aware of this before you sign up as it could cost you dearly. One broker that doesn’t raise commissions for penny stock trading is Questrade.

Summing it all up

This obviously isn’t the be all end all of penny stock trading advice. I’m simply weighing the options on both sides of the table and letting you make the decision. I personally do not trade penny stocks and probably never will, but this isn’t because I don’t think there isn’t profit to be made. There are numerous successful penny stock traders out there and their stories highlight hard work, dedication and a knowledge of the markets and the risks within. I don’t trade them because I am just not comfortable with the risk. I hope this article helped you, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below!